Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Betty Crocker's New Dinner for Two Cookbook" - Meat Loaf

Date I made this recipe: October 26, 2008

Betty Crocker’s New Dinner for Two Cookbook by Betty Crocker (of course!)
Published by: General Mills
© 1964 – 11th printing, 1971
Recipe: Meat Loaf – p. 94

People, I love meatloaf and I love Betty Crocker and now I am in love with Betty Crocker’s Meatloaf! This recipe was the best—easy to make and I had almost all ingredients on hand.

Now my mother added raw oats to her meatloaf (made by a company that is a competitor of Big G, Betty’s parent company, and so I won’t mention the name here) and so I was a little skeptical of this recipe as it used bread/breadcrumbs but in the end, no worries. The bread crumbs in milk tasted great and served the purpose of being a binding agent—i.e. that which holds the whole thing together.

In my family, meatloaf sandwiches were our Road Food meal of choice. Every time we got ready to take one of our long-haul trips across America, my mom made a meatloaf a couple days ahead and then sliced it into sandwiches, adding mustard and ketchup to heavily-buttered bread (so it wouldn’t get soggy). It wasn’t long into the trip that we’d break them out and I can remember my dad munching on a sandwich as we crossed the Mackinaw Bridge to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

Sadly, the only time we had the meatloaf was on the first day of our vacation as thereafter, we ended up buying luncheon meat for sandwiches that we assembled picnic-style on the road. To this day, I can still envision the luncheon meat variety pack consisting of olive loaf, pickle and pimento, ham, and some other type of meat that I can’t recall (possibly because I considered it to be unfit for my consumption).

Every day on the road, we would stop at a local grocery story to buy the luncheon meat variety pack along with fruit, Chips Ahoy Cookies (or Fig Newton’s – a favorite of my dad) and sodas (almost always Coke in the original small bottles), throw them in a large, insulated bag that my parents bought with Green Stamps, and head on down the road until we found a suitable place for a picnic. The insulated bag (a larger version of today’s insulated lunch bags that people bring to work) contained mustard, ketchup and bread that we kept on hand and in the car on a daily basis. Although McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants were on the rise, this was a cheaper way to go (McDonald’s back then was an expensive “treat”) and got us out in the countryside exploring America, state by state, county by county, town by town. These road trips are one of my favorite childhood memories.

So take a trip down your memory lane and make a meatloaf, and if you take a road trip with your kids, consider the meatloaf sandwich. It beats the heck out of McDonald’s any day! (By the way, the ultimate first day of a road trip for me and my brother was eating meatloaf sandwiches in a cozy car when it rained. Yes, we were odd children).

Meat Loaf- 4 servings or two mini meatloaves, just right for two people
½ lb. ground beef or veal
¼ lb. ground lean pork
1 ½ medium slices soft bread, torn in pieces, and ½ cup milk; or ½ cup dry bread crumbs and 2/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
2 T. minced onion
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. each pepper, dry mustard, celery salt and garlic salt
1 ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and shape into 2 loaves. Place loaves in a shallow baking pan, spread with ketchup or your favorite bottled barbecue sauce and bake 1 hour until done.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"The Southern Heritage Plain and Fancy Poultry Cookbook" - Escalloped Chicken Georgia-Style

Date I made this recipe: October 12, 2008

The Southern Heritage Plain and Fancy Poultry Cookbook by the editors of Southern Living
Published by: Oxmoor House
© 1983
Recipe: Escalloped Chicken Georgia-Style – p. 97

Well, today was another rainy day and that usually signals some sort of casserole, and since we had some leftover turkey in our house, I selected this recipe. It had a couple of things going for it: there were only a few ingredients to buy and it didn’t serve 20+ people like some of the recipes in this book. Our freezer doesn’t have enough space for the remaining 18 servings!

This dish was good and easy to make but I must say that the toasted bread-crumb toping was a head-scratcher. It added nothing to the dish and in fact, took away some of the flavor of the “filling” below the surface. I think you can safely leave it off and still have a tasty dish.

Another head-scratcher was the cooking time: 20 minutes at 350 left us with a lukewarm dish that we ended up microwaving. Huh.

But other than the piddly little things above, it was satisfying on what appears to be the start of the fall rainy season. (Deep, heavy sigh).

Escalloped Chicken Georgia-Style – Serves 6
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ cup milk
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups cooked rice
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons chopped pimiento (1 small jar ought to do it)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
(Topping: I think this can be optional)
4 slices bread, toasted and crumbled
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
½ teaspoon paprika

Saute mushrooms and onion in butter in a large skillet until tender. Stir in flour. Gradually add broth and milk, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken, rice, almonds, pimiento, salt and pepper. Spoon in to a lightly greased 2-quart casserole. Top with breadcrumbs. Pour butter over crumbs, and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. (Note: As mentioned earlier, this was lukewarm when we took it out so you may want to leave it in longer).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Joys of Jell-O Gelatin Dessert" & "7-Up Goes to a Party!" - Fruit Cocktail (Jell-O) Salad and Reception Punch

Date I made these recipes: October 4, 2008

Joys of Jell-O® Gelatin Dessert by General Foods Corporation
Published by General Foods Corporation, 3rd Edition, 2nd Printing (circa 1962)
Copyright circa 1962
Recipe: Fruit Cocktail Salad – p. 42

7-Up goes to a Party! – Recipes for: Barbecues, Guest Dinners, Open Houses, Holiday Events (pamphlet) by The Seven-Up Company
Published by The Seven-Up Company
Copyright 1961
Recipe: Reception Punch – p. 4

This weekend, I was on the final approach to my 50th birthday and so decided to have a few friends over to help me celebrate. I got a wild hair and decided to serve retro food and of course, had to include a Jell-O recipe because what was life without Jell-O?

This recipe is simple and best yet, it’s from my mom’s Jell-O book. If your mother was like mine, she made a Jell-O salad for every occasion and it usually included a kitchen-sink collection of ingredients; fruit, nuts, balls of cream cheese rolled in nuts (my personal favorite) and/or veggies. Ah…the memories. My mom’s Jell-O molds are still at my parent’s house, waiting for me to spirit them away (somehow, I’m not seeing my dad suddenly getting a wild hair to make a Jell-O mold) and so I fell back on a few molds I purchased from a thrift store years ago; one even had the sales sticker still on it!

And then because a couple of my friends are not drinking alcohol (one due to chemo and the other due to frequent migraines), I decided to make a punch that I could spike (lush that I am) but they could drink with ease (In a martini glass, though. Punch cups are for sissies!)

This punch recipe makes a lot of punch so unless you want gallons on hand I suggest cutting down the ingredients and buying individual cans of pineapple juice instead of the mega can. As far as the 7-Up goes, use your best judgment as to how much to add for a smaller recipe. As to the booze, you’re on your own although clear liquor (i.e. gin or vodka) is the way to go with this thing – hic!


Fruit Cocktail Salad – 6 servings or 3 ½ cups (Note: you can substitute another canned fruit if desired).
1 package (3 oz) Jell-O Gelatin (any fruit flavor)
1 cup boiling water
1 can (1 lb. 1 oz) fruit cocktail
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup coarsely chopped nuts
1 banana, sliced (I left this out)

Dissolve Jell-O Gelatin in boiling water. Drain fruit, measuring ¾ cup syrup. Add syrup and lemon juice to gelatin. Chill until very thick. (Note: the book says about 1 ½ hours to achieve very thick Jell-O.) Then fold in fruit and nuts. Pour into a 1-quart mold or bowl or individual molds. Chill until firm. Unmold.

Reception Punch – makes 7 quarts or about 60 punch cup servings
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups water
1 46-oz can pi8neapple juice
6 cups orange juice
3 cups lemon juice
12 7-oz bottles 7-Up (Note: 7-oz bottles are no longer being made so instead, go by the ounces needed and adjust depending on how much punch you’re going to make. To make the full recipe, for example, you’ll need 84 ounces.)
Ice cubes

Mix sugar and water in a pan and simmer five minutes; chill. Chill fruit juices and 7-Up. Mix sugar syrup and juices in a chilled punch bowl. At serving time, slowly pour in 7-Up. Add ice cubes and garnish with mint leaves.